Harvey Horn was interviewed on July 15, 2011 by Hillary Ossip at the Yiddish Book Center.
Harvey Horn’s interview begins with a brief overview of his family’s history with details about his maternal grandparent’s immigration from Russia and his paternal family’s move from Poland. Harvey recalls a trip to his paternal grandparent’s home town in Poland; a trip that took them to an abandoned area with only a blue and white door standing in memory of the six thousand Jews that were killed. Harvey then jumps back into his childhood life in Boro Park, Brooklyn as he describes the common activities he took part in.
Quite quickly, Harvey begins telling his story about becoming a prisoner of war during the last years of World War II. Harvey starts at the beginning; his interest in planes and desire to fly. Proudly Harvey explains his aptitude as a cadet, his training in the Air Force, and some of his early missions. Harvey then begins telling the story of the mission that went awry: he describes how the engines started going up in flames, the flack they were getting hit by, and every item they had to throw out of the plane in the hope that they would make it far enough to make a water landing.
Nearly the first half of the interview focuses on Harvey’s experience as a prisoner of war. With great detail Harvey explains how he was captured, what happened when the Germans found out he was Jewish, and his travels through Europe. Harvey constantly refers back to the book he wrote about his experience as a POW, Goldfish and Silver Boot, a title he explains in the interview. Throughout the powerful telling of his prisoner of war experience, Harvey refers to documents and pictures that reverberate the reality of his experience.
The latter half of Harvey’s interview begins with a powerful story of his arrival back in the United States after being a prisoner of war. Much of the rest of the interview goes back to these moments in the service, but the focus of this latter half is on Harvey’s personal life. Coming back from the war was a difficult time for Harvey, and he explains how his first marriage didn’t work out. Then with a huge smile, Harvey begins to share how he met his second wife.
The last portion of Harvey’s interview focuses on intimate details about his close extended family, both growing up as a child and in his adulthood.
To learn more about the Wexler Oral History Project, visit: http://www.yiddishbookcenter.org/tell-your-story
To cite this interview: Harvey Horn Oral History Interview, interviewed by Christa Whitney, Yiddish Book Center's Wexler Oral History Project, Karmazin Recording Studio, Yiddish Book Center, July 15, 2011. Video recording, [URL of interview] ( [date accessed] )